Boosting employee health reduces absenteeism and low production

Lana Bandoim's picture

Absenteeism, lack of productivity and work-related medical bills can all be major expenses. Cumulatively, these problems cost billions every year in additional spending and lost revenue. However, several studies suggest that the solution to these issues may be a greater focus on employee health. If health in the workplace is ignored, then absenteeism, low productivity and the associated costs increase. If you combine these problems among all U.S. companies, the cost per year is $84 billion. However, this number falls dramatically when companies choose to enact health initiatives in the workplace.

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Multiple studies have shown that focusing on employee health and morale can dramatically reduce costs. It is a difficult issue because many factors are outside your control. Nevertheless, you can control the activities that take place within your workplace. The following suggestions can help reduce illness and low morale in your building.

On-site physical fitness initiatives

What options do you offer to employees during breaks? If they currently involve lounging on a sofa and eating unhealthy snacks, try something new and healthy. Enact on-site physical fitness initiatives in order to promote wellness, which will in turn boost mental health and reduce employee illnesses. If possible, install an office gym that can be used during breaks. Walk-and-work stations and other office-friendly exercise equipment can be added to improve overall health. You also want to take proper legal and safety precautions to protect your firm from liability.

Cleaner air

“One of the most profound ways a company can show their employees they care, is by eliminating the noxious air in the workplace,” according to RoboVent, the experts in clean air technology, regarding workplace air filtration. “Not only is it visibly cleaner, but a company can avoid interference and scrutiny by the regulatory agencies.”

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Several studies have shown that improperly ventilated office air can promote illnesses such as headaches, allergies, nausea and fatigue. A recent study shows that highly polluted air can radically decrease cognitive function. The solution is to install proper air filtration and ventilation systems that decontaminate the air and create a healthier workplace.

Healthy snacks

Are the vending machines and break room in your office full of unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks? They do not need to be unhealthy to keep your employees happy. You can replace vending machine items with low calorie, healthy alternatives such as substituting a bowl of fruit for the bowl of muffins on the counter. It may take a while for your employees to get used to the change, but removing unhealthy snack items is one of the best things you can do to promote health and wellness in the workplace. Eventually, your workers will see the value of healthier alternatives, and the difference will show in your bottom line.

Nap stations

Lack of sleep is a major cause of low productivity and illness. When the human body is tired, it has a difficult time fighting off infections and concentrating. Today, 40 million people in the United States suffer from sleep disorders, and another 20 million people experience occasional sleep issues. One of the major contributors to restless slumber is workplace stress and long work hours.

You can reduce overtime hours, provide stress therapists and promote healthy initiatives, but sometimes the only thing that can cure the lack of sleep is sleep. You can create quiet nap stations where employees can take a brief siesta over lunch or during a break. Of course, you may have to monitor these stations to make sure they are not being abused.

You should not expect to be able to stem all the absenteeism or low productivity in your workplace with the above measures or other steps you might take. People will still need the occasional sick day and have a slow day. However, encouraging healthier behavior and attitudes in your workplace can reduce these numbers and have a profound effect on your company’s bottom line.

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